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Herd soccer set to open new stadium

Apr. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University opens its new soccer stadium with an Aug. 23 exhibition match against a Thundering Herd alumni team.

The stadium is being constructed a few blocks from campus at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 26th Street.

"We are excited to fill the new stadium next year and appreciate all the support we get from our local soccer community and our student body," Marshall head coach Bob Gray said in a news release announcing the 2013 season schedule.

Gray enters his 19th season with what he said is the toughest schedule he has ever assembled.

The Herd will play nine teams that made the NCAA tournament last season, six that either finished or received votes in the final NCAA Top 25 and three in the Top 10. One of the opponents, Maryland, participated in the national semifinals.

NCAA tournament teams on the schdule are Akron (exhibition), Charlotte, Cleveland State, Kentucky, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Maryland, Tulsa and UAB. Nationally ranked opponents include No. 3 Maryland, No. 7 Akron (exhibition), No. 10 New Mexico, No. 14 Tulsa, No. 23 Charlotte and receiving votes Old Dominion.

Marshall's first regular season games in the new stadium are are Sept. 13 against Oakland and Sept. 15 against IPFW as part of the Qdoba Invitational.

The strength of Marshall's schedule is within its Conference USA slate. The normally strong soccer conference will be even tougher this season with the addition of some solid schools.

"Our conference, with the addition of New Mexico (affiliate member), UNC Charlotte and Old Dominion will be probably the second strongest conference in the country next year behind the ACC," Gray said.

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